NeoPixel Strip Setup

Choosing a NeoPixel Strip

In this project we’ll be using a Mini Skinny NeoPixel strip with 60 pixels per meter. The hat used here was purchased from Lids.com – Snapback Adjustable Hat - Black/Gray

Measure Strip

Start by laying out our NeoPixel strip to figure out how many pixels we can fit on our hat. In my hat, I used a total of 49 NeoPixels which covers most of the front.

Pixel Data Flow

Flip the strip over to see labels for the ground, voltage and data pads. The arrow indicates the flow of data. Follow the arrow and locate the first pixel in the strip. We'll need to cut the strip to short it down to fit on the front of the hat.

Starting Pixel

Place the strip over one of the seams and skip the first pixel. It will become easier if the first pixel if cut this off rather than remove the existing cable.

Last Pixel

Wrap the NeoPixel strip across the front of the hat and mark the pixel that just about reaches the second seam – This will be the last pixel where we'll cut the strip.

Sacrificial Pixel

Carefully cut off the first pixel using flush diagonal cutters. Try to leave as much of the copper pad as possible – This extra space will allow for a stronger connection when soldering the 3-pin JST cable.

Pixel Count

Thoroughly count each LED element on the strip to determine the exist number of pixels in the strip. Count twice, cut once! 

Cutting Strip

We can use wire cutters to cut across the pads on the strip. Be sure to count your pixels twice before cutting it down to size. Try to cut evenly across the three solder pads so you leave enough area for attaching wires.

Remove Sheathing

We won’t be using the silicone sheathing so we can remove it.

Extra Bling

To make the pixels extra shiny, use the Adafruit rainbow crystals on each pixel.

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No Foil Backing Crystals

These crystals have no foil backing so they’re great for adorning NeoPixels. This makes the LEDs look more like rhinestones and less like, well LEDS.

Install Crystals

Just a drop of super glue is all you need to bond the crystals, we just need to be precise with the placement.

Precise Placement

With the small size of these crystals, I found placing them rather tricky. For a finer control, perhaps try using a set of jewelers tweezers.

Bedazzled Pixels

These give the LEDs a shimmery effect that looks great even when they’re turned off.

This guide was first published on Aug 13, 2019. It was last updated on Aug 13, 2019. This page (NeoPixel Strip Setup) was last updated on Sep 19, 2019.